House to focus on 4 pending bills, says Romualdez
Aside from passing the government’s budget before the end of the year, the House of Representatives will focus on passing before the end of the year four priority measures that were not enacted before the end of the last congressional session last month.
Speaker Martin Romualdez said these unpassed bills are the national rightsizing program, the unified system for the separation, retirement and pension of military and uniformed personnel, the national employment action plan and amendments to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.
The Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council earlier identified 20 priority measures and 16 have already passed the House.
“Rest assured that we, in the House of the People, will act on these pending measures with careful dispatch,” Romualdez said in a statement on Friday.
“With our firm commitment to approve the remaining priority measures agreed upon during the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council meetings, various House panels will continue working during committee deliberations of the proposed 2024 National Expenditure Program,” he said.
Romualdez added: “When the House starts plenary deliberations [on] the national budget, some committees may be authorized to pursue the performance of its mandate of passing vital pieces of legislation.”
The executive department has proposed a national budget of P5.768 trillion for 2024, 9.5 percent higher than this year’s P5.268-trillion spending program.
8,490 bills passed
The Development Budget Coordination Committee said next year’s national budget “will continue to prioritize expenditure items that promote social and economic transformation through infrastructure development, food security, digital transformation and human capital development.”
The executive branch is expected to present the 2024 National Expenditure Program to Congress after it starts the second regular session on July 24, the day of President Marcos’ State of the Nation Address.
In recent years, the lower chamber would pass its version of the General Appropriations Bill before Congress goes on a monthlong break in October.
The proposed bill is usually passed and ratified by both houses of Congress by December, allowing the President enough time to study it and sign it into law before the end of the year.
Romualdez noted that during the first 10 months of the 19th Congress, the House processed a total of 9,600 measures: 8,490 bills, 1,109 resolutions and one petition, or an average of 30 measures for each session day.